Friday, July 11, 2014

Homemade Glass Cleaner vs. Windex

Nowadays it seems like everyone is much more aware of what chemicals are used in cleaning products than, say, 50 years ago. Many are resorting to making their own cleaning products but does that really make them "better"? Do they do the same job as the store-bought name brand cleaners? I decided to try this recipe from Instructables for homemade glass cleaner to see if it was worth the switch.

To make your own you'll need:

* An empty spray bottle (I used an old Lysol bottle)
* 1/2 cup of white vinegar
* 1/2 cup of rubbing alcohol
* 2 Tablespoons of corn starch
* 3-4 cups of warm water (I used about 3 1/2 cups until the bottle started to overflow!)

And to be fair, I tested against original Windex.

Start by adding all the ingredients to your bottle, leaving the water for last. If you don't have a funnel, you can easily make one out of paper (or Post-It notes!)

Once the water has been added, screw on the nozzle and shake it for a few seconds. Now you're ready to clean those windows! It's really hard to show the results in photos but I did make an attempt.

I covered two pieces of glass with chocolate and sprayed the left with the homemade solution and the right with Windex.

So both solutions worked just fine but I might add some bullet points the original post doesn't mention...

Homemade solution: 
   * Smells bad (if you're cleaning all of your windows, get used to the smell of vinegar!)
   * Leaves streaks

Windex solution:
   * Full of chemicals
   * Paper towel leaves lint (though that might be the fault of the paper towel, not the Windex)

In the end, it's really up to you. I didn't like the streaks, nor did I like the smell of vinegar, but at least I knew what was in the solution. If I had kids and was concerned for their health, perhaps I'd stick with the homemade glass cleaner. For now, though, I think I'll stick with the Windex.

$3.29 for white vinegar
$.99 for rubbing alcohol
$1.80 for corn starch
Empty Lysol bottle already on hand
Cost of Windex is $2.79 at Vons

TOTAL AMOUNT OF TIME: Less than 5 minutes

EASY-PEASY SCALE (1 super easy - 5 very difficult): 1 out of 5
There's nothing difficult about pouring all the ingredients into an empty bottle, it's just up to you whether you prefer this method over buying some over the counter!


  1. I went out and bought a thing of ammonia thinking, "Oh, that's what's in window cleaner, this is way cheaper." EGADS. That stuff reeks, and hello, poisonous when mixed with bleach. When I was a kid, we had to do the windows with vinegar and newspaper because ...well, hippies. My parents were hippies in SF, what can I say?? I still don't love the smell of vinegar, even when poaching eggs. However, I don't bother with Windex, either. A little dish soap cuts grease and a bit of water and vinegar works for inside windows; plain vinegar does well outside.

    I am a little astounded at the cornstarch...!?

    1. Yeah, I think it was the corn starch that made the streaks. And coffee filters work if you don't have paper towels or newspapers :)

  2. I ran out of my Vinegar Windex, so I Googled Homemade Window Cleaner. Yours was the first to pop up. I didn’t even think to use warm water, but I did not have any problems with streaking. My sliding door looks like the glass has been taken out, it’s so clear! Also, my husband dripped caulking on my glass top table, and this cleaner totally ate it away. I wasn’t expecting it to ever come off, because I tried several other cleaners without budging it. I am a convert! Thank you so much!

  3. Interesting comparison. I have used home-made window cleaner for years since I have reptiles and clean their glass frequently and don't wish to expose them to chemicals. I have never used the corn starch in mine, maybe that it what left the streaks? Also, I like to use coffee filters to wipe because they are cheap and work amazingly.

    Bo Tolbert @ HJS Supply Co.

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